News & Announcements

Plus Three Launches Upgrade Of Fund-Raising Software

Larry Greenemeier

Information Week

Jun 28, 2004

One of the key companies behind the Democratic National Committee's IT infrastructure--more commonly referred to as Demzilla--on Monday launched the latest version of its open-source fund-raising software. Version 3.1 of Plus Three LP's Arcos software lets fund-raising organizations and political campaigns treat their constituents more like consumers, thanks to business-intelligence features designed to enable more direct marketing.

The Democratic National Committee, Plus Three's largest customer, is using Arcos technology to store and track campaign donors much like customer-relationship-management software does for large companies. The committee has on file about 166 million registered voters that it can use to target people who might be undecided or leaning away from the party, says David Brunton, Plus Three's VP of sales and marketing.

Missouri's Democratic Party is using Plus Three's technology to make the most of the data it gathers from volunteers collecting information door-to-door. State branches of the party are the ones closest to the voters, says Jim Kottmeyer, executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party. "The plan is to send batch downloads to the national database," he says. In return, Missouri will receive reports that analyze the voter data it contributes to the national campaign effort.

"There are 2.4 million voters in the state of Missouri. We have to know which ones to talk to," Kottmeyer says. "Politics is all driven by voter-specific information these days."

The Republican National Committee also has a voter data repository, called Voter Vault, although a party spokeswoman declined to give specifics regarding its technology.

Democrats Tap Open Source

Peter Galli

eWeek

Jun 28, 2004

Open source has expanded into the political world, with open software powering the online operations of the Democratic National Committee and Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign.

The DNC has embraced open source to run its online operation, including outreach and fund raising, and has been working on this front since 2001 with New York-based consultant Plus Three LP.

This week, the DNC will launch, at www.democrats.org, the third version of its Web site, which is designed to mobilize voters on a national and grass-roots level, grow the party's online database, and raise funds, said David Brunton, Plus Three's vice president and co-founder.

Plus Three's Arcos technology, a business application suite based on the open-source LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and Perl) platform, lies at the core of the Democrats' online technology infrastructure, dubbed Demzilla by the DNC.

Demzilla is credited with helping the DNC grow its online contributions, as well as its online community, from 70,000 to more than 1.7 million members, said DNC officials in Washington.

So far this year, Plus Three's open technologies have helped the DNC raise more than $60 million online for Democratic presidential contender Kerry and the DNC.

Plus Three, which serves the political, nonprofit and advocacy vertical market, uses Red Hat Inc.'s Red Hat Linux primarily, but it has several developers working on Debian. Plus Three also uses Version 1.3 of the Apache Web server, mainly because of compatibility with its Perl engine, but also uses Apache 2.0 for caching.

Plus Three builds mainly on MySQL AB's MySQL database but also works with PostgreSQL for particular narrow and tall indexes, while most of the code generated inside Plus Three is written in Perl, Brunton said.

"Open-source technologies provide freedom for our clients—both freedom from licensing fees, of which we charge none, as well as, in many cases, freedom from the kinds of attacks that can debilitate more closed alternatives," Brunton said.

"We do three kinds of work for the DNC," Brunton said. "The first is customized, technical work on a fixed-price basis. The second type of work is regular maintenance for a monthly fee, while the last kind of work done is a retainer for managing the DNC's online advertising and e-mail enhancements."

The short-term costs of the Plus Three DNC solution are far lower than those of proprietary alternatives, including Windows, primarily due to the licensing fees that would have had to be paid upfront, Brunton said.

Plus Three Technology Helps Democratic National Committee Achieve a 600% Increase in Online Contributions

Posted on 12/02/2003 @ 09:58 AM

Plus Three LP, a strategic marketing and technology services agency today announces that the website platform it developed for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has contributed to a 600% increase in online contributions in the third quarter of 2003. Hired to help the DNC upgrade their online communications capabilities, Plus Three rebuilt their website (www.democrats.org), adding an internal transactional database and an email delivery platform. Launched in February 2002, under the moniker "Demzilla", the initiative is credited with helping double online contributions to the DNC since its inception, including a 600% increase in the most recent quarter.

"To win campaigns you need three things: money, message, and mobilization. The tools Plus Three has helped the DNC build allow us to maximize our performance in all three areas," said Doug Kelly, Director of Technology for the Democratic National Committee. "We've been able to mobilize hundreds of thousands of activists across the country to communicate with their representatives, register with democrats.org, and actively participate with the Party. Voters can go to www.democrats.org and see what the Democrats are doing on the issues they care about most, and then find out how they can get involved."

In February 2001, Terry McAuliffe was elected as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and quickly ordered a top to bottom review of the DNC's technology operations. McAuliffe brought in QRS Newmedia, a Washington, D.C. communications technology consultancy, to conduct the assessment and develop a blueprint for leveraging new technologies to ensure that the Democrats' nominee for president would have the best foundation upon which to build a victory in 2004. QRS Newmedia selected Plus Three to build "Demzilla," the database platform at the core of the DNC's new technology infrastructure.

The project had three overarching goals," said Laura Quinn, Managing Partner of QRS Newmedia, "to enable the Democrats to reconnect with grassroots voters, to raise money — in particular among small donors, and to move their message more quickly and more effectively. To execute this successfully, we knew we'd need a development partner that was very flexible, and willing to understand the DNC's unique organizational needs. Plus Three provided all that and much more."

When Terry McAuliffe took over as Chairman, the DNC had email addresses for about 70,000 voters. Today they maintain more than 1.7 million email addresses from voters across the country, significantly lowering their fundraising costs.

"Before this initiative was complete we outsourced email communications, but as our list grew our costs grew. We felt penalized for our success," said Kelly. "By bringing the technology in-house, we no longer have to do a cost-benefit analysis about whether to communicate with voters when an issue breaks. Every communication now delivers net benefit."

"It was very important to voters that the DNC speak to the issues they specifically cared about, and that the website enable them to take action, which required a high level of personalization," said Juan Proaño. "With the Demzilla platform, the DNC has the means to message voters more quickly, more frequently, and in a personalized manner, as events occur. And by basing our development on open source software, the DNC can continue to evolve and grow their platform very cost-effectively as technology improves."

"We had to build a better engine to reach out to the Democratic base," said Kelly. "An engine that would allow us to establish stronger ties with voters, and mobilize them quickly," says Kelly. "Plus Three has been a great partner in this effort."

Plus Three to Present at EgovOS.org Conference

Posted on 03/11/2003 @ 10:00 AM

Plus Three, a leader in Free and Open Source software development, will be presenting a real world case study of how they achieved a sustained peak website throughput of over 60 gigabits per second while delivering dynamically generated content and keeping site response times under a second on a small cluster of commodity Intel hardware for one of their clients.

The Center of Open Source & Government (EgovOS.org) is hosting "Open Standards/Open Source for National and Local eGovernment Programs in the U.S. and EU". The conference will be held in Washington, D.C. on March. 17 – 19, 2003 and include industry leaders including Red Hat, Oracle, Sun Microsystems, IBM, and Plus Three.

Registration is free, and available now. The conference will be held at The George Washington University's Cafritz Conference Center, The George Washington University, 800 21st Street, NW in Washington, D.C., 20052.

"We've squeezed impressive scalability out of commodity hardware," says David Brunton, Plus Three's VP of Technology. "Maintaining website uptime during traffic spikes is a rapidly growing practice area for Plus Three."

Plus Three creates standards and systems for organizations that need to transmit, store, update and analyze large data sets. They specialize in building semantic web interfaces to these data sets.

Plus Three Builds Democratic National Committee's 2004 Weapon

Posted on 03/04/2003 @ 10:03 AM

Technology Firm Created Database of Over 150 Million Voters, Targeting and Message Delivery Mechanisms

New technology from Plus Three drives the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) "Demzilla," platform. Plus Three, a technology firm based in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C, spent 18 months developing Demzilla, an XML and Internet based database of voters and donors with state-of-the-art marketing and analysis capabilities. Democrats will use the system to improve fundraising and to communicate with voters in their "Project 5104" plan to win back the White House in 2004.

"In Demzilla, Plus Three has delivered the kind of far-reaching, aggressive technology that will allow Democrats to get out the message and the vote in 2004, sending us to victory," said DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

Laura Quinn of QRS Newmedia, the consultant who drove the decision for the Democratic party's technology upgrade, stated: "I was extremely happy with our choice of vendors. Plus Three has provided us with a stable, scalable solution, and has been incredibly active in this process of upgrading the Democrats' technology."

"We wanted to deliver a solution that was cost effective and secure, a system that could grow with the DNC, and we did just that," said Juan Proaño, President of Plus Three. "We look forward working with the DNC to ensure that their technology stays ahead of the times."

Plus Three creates standards and systems for organizations that need to transmit, store, update and analyze large data sets. They specialize in building semantic web interfaces to these data sets.